By Kelley Granger


You’ve always said you worshipped Coco Chanel, and now you can pay homage to the design and fragrance maven at her Saumur birthplace in the Loire Valley region of France. Though her childhood was dismal (she was raised in an orphanage after her mother died and she was abandoned by her father), Saumur offers brighter tourist prospects – a pre-11th century chateau to be seen, fine local wines to be tasted, mushroom caves to be explored, and talented men to be ogled. The Cadre Noir, or Black Squad, don striking black uniforms as they demonstrate the fine art of French horsemanship to visitors at world-class riding academy Ecole Nationale d’Equitation. Four star accommodations are available at the Chateau de Verrieres, where suites range from modernistic to the romantic elegance of the 1800s with wood paneling, fabric wall coverings and other opulent touches.

Originally published March 2008
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